My first encounter with the figure of a witch in popular culture—apart from those in kids’ movies like Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” and M-G-M’s “The Wizard of Oz,” or in books like Tomie dePaola’s “Strega Nona” and Roald Dahl’s “The Witches”—was in a campy scene from Oliver Stone’s 1991 bio-pic, “The Doors,” depicting Jim Morrison (played by Val Kilmer) and one of his lovers, a Wiccan witch (a character played by Kathleen Quinlan, and based on the rock journalist Patricia Kennealy, who reportedly married the singer in a Celtic handfasting ceremony, in 1970).
The witch is often understood as a mishmash of sometimes contradictory clichés: sexually forthright but psychologically mysterious; threatening and haggish but irresistibly seductive; a kooky believer in cultish mumbo-jumbo and a canny she-devil; a sophisticated holder of arcane spiritual knowledge and a corporeal being who is no thought and all instinct.
Source: The Many Faces of Women Who Identify As Witches | The New Yorker
An Alabama pastor warned his congregation Sunday that President Donald Trump needs prayers as “witchcraft” threatens to impede his presidency.
“I don’t know if you’re going to believe me when I tell you this, but what’s happening right now in America is witchcraft is trying to take this country over,” Pastor John A. Kilpatrick said Sunday at Church of His Presence in Daphne, Alabama, a video posted by Pray Alabama this week shows.
Source: Trump ‘witchcraft’ prayer: AL pastor warns of ‘deep state’ | Miami Herald
The evangelist, farmer and Benue State official identified as Ben Dzwa believe God stands the risk of being seduced when he sees nakedness, and may be compelled to answer their prayers by virtue of that influence.
Source: “Don’t pray while naked, you’re seducing God, it’s witchcraft” – Filla – Pulse
CARBONDALE — Sunday will provide a unique opportunity in an effort to both contribute to the greater good and to tear down stereotypes as the Southern Illinois Pagan Alliance is hosting a Bless Your Ride event at Giant City State Park.
“We’re not running around in black robes and hats and turning people into frogs,” Eric Shelton, the event’s organizer, said. He was making the point that Pagans are just like everyone else. He also pointed out there are more of them than people might think.
Inspired by the annual Blessing of the Bikes event held at Bald Knob Cross — Shelton said he goes to this whenever he can — he thought it would be a good idea for his group to host something similar.
Source: Pagan event aims to demystify the faith while also blessing modes of transportation | Local News | thesouthern.com
Victoria’s worst serial killer who uses tarot cards “as a contemplative doorway” and “spiritual tool” in prison has won a Supreme Court bid to have four cards featuring bare-breasted women returned to him.
Paul Steven Haigh, 60, was jailed for life in Barwon Prison over the murders of six people in the late 1970s. He murdered a seventh person in 1991.
The practising pagan launched legal action against the prison for removing four cards from his Deviant Moon tarot deck in 2017, featuring “abstract, mystical illustration of an other-worldly female character displaying breasts”, which the prison banned as “pornographic” or “objectionable”.
Source: Vic serial killer wins tarot card fight – 9News
Honouring the spirits of our ancestors is a practice ingrained in many of the world’s cultures.
Celebrations or commemorations for the dead are as widespread as they are ancient, and they form part of a societal coping mechanism for dealing with an unpleasant but unavoidable consequence of life — death.
Source: 7 Day of the Dead Festivals from around the World – DCODE | Discovery
Every Wednesday afternoon, Samuel Wagar sets up a table on the main floor of the University of Alberta’s Student Union Building, spreads out a brightly coloured cloth and a deck of tarot cards and waits for students to stop by for some spiritual guidance.
The school’s first (and only) Wiccan chaplain recently started offering free tarot readings.
It’s partly to reach out to the fledgling pagan community, but also just to make sure students in general know the chaplain service is there when they need advice.
“You just have issues in your life and you want someone to talk to, but you want to talk to someone with meaning, with spiritual resources, we can do that. We are there for everybody in the university community.” he said.
Source: ‘Makes me feel great’: University of Alberta’s first Wiccan chaplain is proud to serve | Metro Edmonton
Every January, in parts of rural England, people still gather to celebrate Wassailing, a tradition with distinctly Pagan origins intended to bless the coming year’s apple crops and protect orchards from evil spirits. It’s an intriguing part of the ongoing connection between the present day and folklore but the roots of Wassailing stretch back even further. Back to the time when the Roman Empire’s hold on their province of Britannia was collapsing and how, in the years before King Arthur, a Saxon princess seduced a British king and opened the way to an invasion that changed the country forever!
Source: From Saxon Sirens to Sacred Orchards: The Modern Traditions and Pagan Origins of Wassailing
A significant part of Kadazan history ended a fortnight ago on Nov. 13 with the passing of Anthony Jomikik Lojuta at age 94. … What is less known was that Jomikik, as he was popularly known, was the last remaining physical link to the Kadazan community’s head-hunting past. Not that he was a head-hunter but that he inherited several skulls that are believed to be at least more than 300 years old or more.
… Although a Christian, he identified himself more as a pagan, partly due to his responsibility in caring for the spirits of the skulls, who he said he was able to communicate with in his own way.
Even at that time, he was concerned by what would happen to his charges once he was gone.
Source: Passing of the last Kadazan skull-keeper | Daily Express Newspaper Online
It’s always a loss to the world when we lose part of our past.
Dr Tim Blakemore, a former senior law lecturer at the University of Northampton, finds some magic in the air and water of modern-day France where he now lives
There are some mysterious goings-on in France. In an article in July’s Connexion it was reported that the number of exorcisms in France has tripled over the past 10 years. The title to the piece (‘Booming number of exorcisms in France’) seems to suggest this is some sort of economic miracle rather than a religious issue, but a priest is quoted as expressing the concern of the Catholic church: “There’s a growing paganism so the Devil is more at home”.
Your acceptance of that explanation will depend upon your personal beliefs, but it is also possible that people are becoming more interested in such ancient mystical practices.
Certainly in rural France there seems to be a stock of traditions which at first sight appear to be in conflict with the entrenched Catholic Christianity, but with which the people themselves seem quite at ease. Perhaps it is offensive to describe these as “pagan”, but they certainly seem to be outside the framework of the established Christian church.
Source: Take Santa, Christian Christmas and add pagan ritual
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